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It is with great pleasure and excitement that King College and Tornado Athletics proudly
announces the addition of Acrobatics and Tumbling to its core of athletic varsity
programs. Acrobatics and Tumbling will serve as King’s 25th varsity program and begin competing at the start of the 2013-14 academic year. A
search for the program’s first head coach will begin immediately.
The addition of Acrobatics and Tumbling was announced on the afternoon of Thursday,
Sept. 27 and will immediately begin making an impact on the King athletic community
and collegiate athletics, nationally.
David Hicks, athletic director of King College said, “King has always been a leader
and innovator in education and athletics. A new, exciting, and growing sport such
as Acrobatics and Tumbling continues in that tradition.”
“The addition of Acrobatics and Tumbling marks a tremendous time for King’s Athletic
Program,” said Dr. Jordan, president of King College. “We are delighted to bring such
a rapidly growing sport to King and provide additional opportunities to female student-athletes
to attend a quality institution and compete in a varsity sport at the collegiate level.”
King will serve as the eighth institution in the United States to sponsor competitive
Acrobatics and Tumbling joining Fairmont State University (WV), the University of
Oregon (OR), Baylor University (TX), Quinnipiac University (CT), the University of
Massachusetts Dartmouth (MA), Alderson-Broaddus College (WV), and Azusa Pacific University
(CA). Alderson-Broaddus was the most recent institution to add Acrobatics and Tumbling
to its athletic program and will also begin competing in 2013-14.
Acrobatics and Tumbling has been one of the fastest developing collegiate sports since
the University of Oregon and University of Maryland began the sport’s movement in
2007. It is now on the fast track to becoming what the NCAA identifies as an “emerging
With the interest of Acrobatics and Tumbling growing among colleges and universities
across the nation in large numbers, head coach of Acrobatics and Tumbling at the University
of Oregon Felicia Mulkey believes it is just a matter of time before the NCAA officially
designates it as a competitive, collegiate program, and perhaps even more.
“There is a very long line of schools that want to or are interested in starting Acro,”
said Mulkey. “Once emerging sport status is granted, I think it will be the fastest
growing sport in NCAA history.”
Mulkey, who is the head coach of the two-time National Champion Oregon Ducks, also
serves as the chair of the expansion committee for the National Collegiate Acrobatics
and Tumbling Association (NCATA), the governing body of the sport. She has been integral
in educating King and many other schools about the sport, as well as getting those
schools to commit to sponsor it.
Acrobatics and Tumbling is derived from a combination of all seven disciplines of
gymnastics. Those disciplines include men’s and women’s artistic, rhythmic, aerobic,
acro, trampoline and tumbling, and group gymnastics. The sport does not focus on any
one discipline but instead focuses on a skill set that encompasses traits from all
areas to create a single, comprehensive team of athletes that contribute to success.
“In Acro there is no ideal height or size of a student-athlete,” said Mulkey. “The
only requirement is possessing pure athletic ability, so the sport is open to a larger
pool of athletes.”
A typical Acrobatics and Tumbling meet hosts between two and four teams with the average
time ranging from one-and-one-half to two hours per event. Each team will engage in
six events: compulsory, acro, pyramid, toss, tumbling, and team. Between the third
and fourth events, teams will have one 15-minute halftime intermission. Up to 28 active
athletes may comprise each competing team, though roster sizes can range between 30
and 45 athletes. Points are awarded to each team following each heat or event with
a maximum achievable score of 300 points. Points are accumulated via a running total
through the sixth event with judging based on the USA Gymnastics model. The team possessing
the highest combined score is declared the winner.
Acrobatics and Tumbling has been on King’s radar since winter 2012. Upon learning
about the opportunity and the sport, administration quickly began researching the
possibility of bringing it to the College and how it will benefit all parties involved.
The decision to add Acrobatics and Tumbling as King’s 25th varsity athletic team was formally made in earlier this month.
“Acro is very interesting because it was unique, yet growing and represents a very
large population of students at the high school level with limited opportunities to
compete in college,” said Hicks. “Over the course of the spring, we had numerous discussions
with officials from the NCATA, as well as Felecia Mulkey, the Head Coach at the University
of Oregon. After those discussions, we decided to proceed with adding it to our athletic
The announcement to add Acrobatics and Tumbling comes at a very momentous time in
collegiate athletics. Many entities, including the NCAA, have been celebrating the
40th anniversary of Title IX this year. The passage of Title IX marked an incredibly significant
period in the civil rights movement that made significant strides to provide gender
equity in educational venues.
“We have always been committed to providing opportunities to all students-athletes,
but Acrobatics and Tumbling is another great stage and opportunity to showcase female
athletes, their talents and abilities on a national level,” said head athletic trainer
and senior woman administrator, Shelia Crockett. “We are very proud to be able to
share in the excitement of announcing this new opportunity while celebrating what
Title IX has achieved over the last 40 years.”
Hicks formally made the announcement in the M. Jeffrey Byrd Board Room inside the
Student Center Complex in front of a full room of King coaches, student-athletes,
faculty, staff and members of the board of trustees. The event was also video streamed
live and displayed on the Tornado Athletics web page, www.KingTornado.com.
The addition of Acrobatics and Tumbling marks the first sport addition since 2009
when King added women’s wrestling and cycling to its athletic program. Since the expansion
to 24 teams, King also became a member of NCAA Division II and Conference Carolinas.
From the time when the Tornado earned eligibility to compete in postseason championships
in 2010 to present, King has crowned three national champions, has hosted a Conference
Carolinas regular season and conference tournament champion team, multiple academic
and athletic All-Americans, and sported both a second and fifth place finish at national
competition among its programs.
“Tornado Athletics have enjoyed great success in the last five years,” said Dr. Jordan.
“We have student-athletes who are competing on conference, regional, national, and
international levels. We anticipate this new offering of Acrobatics and Tumbling to
produce impressive results.”
The National Collegiate Acrobatics and Tumbling Association (NCATA) is the governing
body for Acrobatics and Tumbling. The NCATA exists to provide leadership, governance,
and education for the sport of Acrobatics and Tumbling at the collegiate level based
on fair and safe athletic competition while continuing to expand opportunities for
female athletes at the collegiate level. All NCATA events are sanctioned through USA
Gymnastics. For more information, visit www.theNCATA.org.